Why not a better way to run a sales team?

by Karen Post, a.k.a. The Branding Diva®

Last month I made a trip to Tampa to source out suppliers to help me remodel my condo. One of my needs was carpeting. I went to a couple of places, looked at materials, researched pricing, and also considered the salesperson behind the product. I decided on a family-owned business called Castle One Carpets. My salesperson was Joe. He was knowledgeable, friendly, and did not impose any not hard pressure tactics. I returned one month later, on a Saturday, ready to place my order. I entered the store. Joe was not working. I was greeted by another salesperson, who asked if I he could help me. I explained I was in last month, had selected something, and was ready to place my order. He informed me that Joe would need to write the order and he, the owner, never worked on Saturdays so I would need to come back. I asked him if everyone worked on commission. And he said yes.

Wow, what a screwy system. And, a nice way to lose a customer. Even if a company compensates the sales team with a performance commission, they should have a side support process to serve everyone who wants to buy. It wasn’t as if the salesman was even busy with another customer. I was the only customer in the store.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated situation. I’ve experienced this in furniture stores, car dealerships, and even clothing boutiques. So what can be done to improve this anti-customer service policy?

Three ways to make commission sales program a win/win for the sales person, the customer, and the brand:

1) Empower and educate your staff with training and tools on best customer service practices. Make “we (not me) are here to serve customers” a value of your brand culture.

2) Create shared commission programs when one or more associates are involved.

3) Keep a client information file system that is accessible to all when someone else needs to jump in to help a customer.

Castle One Carpet, I love my new floor treatment, but the come back on Monday when the person who will earn their commission is here, no follow up or thank you for a several thousand-dollar order, sucks.

About the author: Karen Post, a.k.a. The Branding Diva® is an international authority on branding, marketing, and entrepreneurial matters. She is has been featured as a business expert in print publications; on TV, radio, and on Web channels. Karen authored the best-selling book Brain Tattoos, Creating Unique Brands That Stick in your Customers’ Minds and she is co-founder and CEO of Oddpodz.com, an idea engine for creative professionals and business. Her work has benefited large and small organizations in the United States and around the world.